Bangkok, Sep 24 (efe-epa).- Thailand on Thursday filed a cybercrime complaint against Facebook and Twitter for their refusal to take down alleged illegal content, including some anti-monarchy posts, from their social networks.
The government had given the social media firms and the internet giant Google 15 days after a court order on Aug. 27 to remove the content that was perceived to be defamatory to the monarchy.
“I have already handed over to the police all the information, evidences, including the court orders that had requested those social media platforms to take down content that violates (the law) within 15 days,” Minister of Digital Economy Puttipong Punnakan told reporters.
The government alleged that the social media sites had not removed 501 links from their sites even after they had were to do so.
Some 436 of them are on Facebook, 64 on Twitter, and one on Instagram, the Facebook-owned photo and video-sharing social networking service.
The authorities planned to act against Google also for hosting 289 YouTube videos considered illegal.
But the company blocked these videos late on Wednesday.
Puttipong also asked the social networks to restrict or withdraw more than 3,000 pages within 15 days because they contained content defamatory to the monarchy.
He said these pages carried copyright violation and hosted pornographic content and gambling.
The government has also filed complaints against five people, whom it accuses of violating the cybercrime law with anti-monarchical messages, which carries up to five years in prison or 100,000 Thai baht ($3,100) in fine.
The minister said three of the accused had allegedly organized anti-government protests last weekend, although he did not provide their names.
The complaints coincide with widespread student protests that began on July 1 8 for democratic reforms and limiting the power of the monarchy in running the country, posing a challenge to the conservative elite in the country.
They also demand ending the lèse majesté law that lays down prison terms of up to 15 years and other punishments for criticizing the royal household.
The law has for years prevented any public debate on the role of the monarchy in the country.
Nonprofits like Human Rights Watch have denounced Thailand suppressing the freedom of expression by using draconian laws like the Computer-Related Crime Act (CCA) that gives overly broad powers to the government to restrict free speech, enforce surveillance and censorship. EFE-EPA